Crabbing

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Want the Freshest Catch? Give Crabbing a Try.

If you enjoy eating crab but have never caught them yourself, now might be a good time to give it a try. The basic process is easy: Purchase the appropriate crab trap or net, take it to a wharf, jetty or pier, add the appropriate bait, lower it into the water and begin to wait. Before long the trap will hopefully be chock full of eight-legged delicacies, with the next stop being your dinner plate. Crab traps can also be deployed from a boat—but no matter how you plan to go about it, West Marine offers a great selection of crab pots, crab nets, weighted crabbing lines floats, crab pullers, crab measuring devices and other gear to help make your crabbing outing a success.

Before you get started...

It’s important to know the types of crabs that are caught in your geographical area. For example, Florida’s Blue Crab is much smaller in size and weight but is harvested year-round, unlike Alaska’s King Crab, which can reach up to a five‐foot leg span and is caught mostly in the fall months.

Familiarize yourself with state and local laws that govern crabbing. Certain crab traps and crabbing tools that are legal in one state are not legal in others. The size of the crabs you’re allowed to catch and what you’re not allowed to catch (young crabs, pregnant female crabs or, in some areas, turtles) will have an impact on how you outfit your trap and the measuring tool you use.

Also, be sure you have the proper license for the area. Rules and regulations change from time to time so it’s up to you to stay up to date. Check your state’s official website or Fish and Wildlife website for crabbing rules in your area.

Crab Types by Region

  • Blue Crab—Florida, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia (East Coast)
  • Blue King Crab—Alaska (some found in Washington)
  • Box Crab—Washington (and British Columbia)
  • Dungeness Crab—Washington, Oregon, California
  • Golden King Crab—Alaska (some found in Washington)
  • Jonah Crab—Maine, Rhode Island, Massachusetts
  • Red King Crab—Alaska (some found in Washington)
  • Red Rock Crab—Washington, Oregon, Northern California
  • Rock Crab—Maine (and northern East Coast up to Canada)
  • Snow Crab—Alaska, Maine
  • Stone Crab—North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida